Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 11:08 AM Apr 2016

"Guilty": Part Two

“What you think, you become.”
-- Gandhi

The morning started with the doctor who conducted the autopsy testifying. He was an impressive witness for the prosecution. His testimony proved -- well beyond a shadow of a doubt -- that my cousin’s son suffered severe injuries while he struggled to restrain the person who had just shot his father. The thug would “pistol-whip” him with five or six blows to the head with the pistol. The numerous autopsy photographs show where it tore the flesh from the young man’s face and head, and the enormous bruises and large welts it left upon the corpse of a 26-year old pacifist.

We arranged to keep my cousin, his parents, siblings, and others from being in the courtroom for this testimony. The photographs were enlarged to be seen on a large screen. What I saw was a brave young man, who willingly risked -- and lost -- his own life, in order to protect the father he loved.

Jimi Hendrix once said that everyone loves the dead, and that once you died, you had it made for life. Yet every so often, an extraordinary person lives and dies. And this is the young man that my family lost on that Monday, October 27, 2014. If I used this culture’s method of identification, I’d refer to him as my “second cousin.” But that is not accurate, It is certainly not as accurate as our culture’s method for identification.

My cousin is, in a literal sense, my brother. But it goes further: his late son was thus my nephew. With that comes responsibility; hence, my nephew is my “son,” just as his sister is my daughter. No dictionary changes that. Indeed, this culture’s definition of “family” is the most barren, unhealthy in human history. It provides the least support to two extremely important sub-groups: the children & youth, and the elderly.

My nephew was a classic example of a “gentle giant.” He stood about 6’ 5” tall, with the physical strength of a carpenter who enjoyed hard work. He loved science, and he loved animals. His grandmother (my aunt) has taken in abused animals for longer than I’ve been alive …..and those animals from recent years trusted this young fellow.

Like every one of his generation in my family, I enjoyed discussing high school, the opposite sex, music, and job opportunities with him. But we also had long conversations on other, often esoteric, issues ….such as college, the opposite sex, music, and employment options. On Friday, the 24th, he and I talked a good half-hour before his father got back from grocery shopping. He had resolved a conflict at work earlier in the day, and I was really impressed with his skills. It led to a discussion of union politics.

I remember when my cousin got home, my telling him how impressed I was with his son. I like “unions politics,” of course, and even more interested in dispute resolution. My nephew “got it,” so to speak. I remember telling my cousin how impressed with, and proud of his son I was.

The gunman testified that he was frustrated, because the young man was driving at 51 mph on a state highway. He didn’t mention that the recommended speed for the curve they approached was 45 mph. The thug admitted that my relatives pulled over, and let him pass them safely. He said that when he did pass their vehicle, my nephew gave him the finger. He felt so threatened by this, that he pulled into the parking lot to diffuse the situation. But, according to him, the pair followed him into the parking lot, and aggressively started to assault him.

He testified under oath that he only took his gun out to protect himself from being killed. Once he had opportunity to escape, he said, he ran to his vehicle, and drove off. After tossing the gun out the window, he went straight to the State Police station.

Then it was the DA’s time to cross-examine the human sludge. If one had believed the testimony he just gave, then the defendant was actually a meek lamb of a man, who was the true victim of the 10-27-2014 assault. If one thought the scumbag had lied on the witness stand, however, they were in for a treat, because DA Joseph McBride is something of a pit bull: he grabs hold of the Truth, and energetically shakes it free from lies.

He started by asking the thug about why he had lost his job as a security officer at Hartwick College in Oneonta …..the scum was fired for coming to work hammered, and bullying people on campus. Then he focused on the scum’s saying he had had two or three drinks in the hour before he shot the two victims. The scum admitted that he would had to have had at least nine drinks in that hour. More, he admitted that after the shooting, he continued to consume alcohol that he had in a “water bottle” in his vehicle, before he went to the police HQ.

The DA then focused their conversation on how, after at least nine drinks in approximately one hour, the scum got his handgun, and went out for a ride. DA McBride again stated the guy was furious when he left his house, and was intent upon shooting someone ….anyone who he happened to come upon in an isolated setting. He documented a series of lies the defendant told the State Police that afternoon. He caught the shithead in lie after lie after lie.

Perhaps the most interesting series of lies had to do with the creep’s massive collection of illegal guns. The defendant had purchased them while serving as a NYC patrolman; they were legal until the day he retired. At first, the scum claimed the NYC PD gave him a license after he retired; he went so far as to tell the DA he “should have done his homework.” But not only had the DA contacted the NYC PD, but they simply cannot issue a gun license for a retired cop in Chenango County.

The next lie came immediately: he had applied for the proper license, and it was “in process.” Nope. The DA documented that he had applied, but that the state had ruled that he could never be licensed in this state, due to his past behaviors.

The court recessed for lunch. During that time, the DA and I discussed how the case was going. I said I couldn’t see any grounds for appeal -- although the defense attorney had placed on record (three times) his belief that, because he was in county jail on the day the State Police searched his home, the defendant was not “in possession” of the weapons found in his home. The DA agreed, then told me that he believed the judge was going to render his verdict shortly after the closing arguments after lunch. This could only mean a guilty verdict, as a “not guilty” would take more time to prepare.

Closing arguments were relatively brief. The defense focused on my cousin’s use of the demon weed. I suspect this argument was 60 years past its expiration date. Then came DA Joseph McBride. He destroyed the defendant’s version of events, and exposed the numerous lies he had told the State Police before, and the court today. Indeed, if a witness gets caught telling a purposeful lie on the witness stand, the judge can dismiss virtually everything else they testified to. In this case, the defendant had lied under oath in his testimony more than a dozen times.

After a short recess, the judge announced that the scumbag was “guilty” on 15 counts. (Two were dismissed, because they were already covered in earlier charges.)

I was pleased when the defense attorney immediately came over to shake my cousin’s hand, and speak to him with human compassion.

I will say something about the murderer ….the other day, I noted that the only time his facial expression changed was when my cousin wept while describing his son dying in his arms. He gave my cousin a sneer that communicated his utter contempt -- as if “real men” don’t cry about such silly things. Then yesterday, when the autopsy photos were placed up on a large screen, he perked right up. You could see the pride he took in the severe damage he had done to a 26-year old man. (I think most people would, even if they had killed another human being in self-defense, would be upset by the experience.)

The reporters covering the trial had approached me during the recess before the verdict, and asked if they would be able to speak to my cousin after court. I said yes, and added that the “press conference” needed to include the DA. McBride also included one of the high-ranking BCI Senior Investigators, and my niece. While I’m not fully objective, I thought all four did extremely well.

The sentencing hearing will take place in about 30 days. The judge is ordering the usual pre-sentencing investigation. Though I’m retired, I know the folks who will do that investigation, and am confident they will do a good job. Also, I’ve been working with family and friends on “victim impact statements.” Some will be delivered in court; lots more will be mailed or e-mailed to the judge. These can come from anyone who wishes to communicate to the judge their opinions on how this thug has damaged the fabric of our society.

I’m going to be heading down to see me cousin soon. But before I do, it is important to me to again thank everyone here for their support through all of this. For a variety of reasons, my role within my extended family has included assisting in navigating the system, and being there to support everyone on every step of the way. A couple close friends -- who know my cousin et al very well -- assisted me. And my youngest daughter has really been here for me -- and our extended family -- and shown more strength than I might have thought was possible. During some of the most horrible testimony this week, I’ve been so proud to see her sitting with my uncle (who turns 88 next month), and holding him in her arms. While no family should endure such things, my daughter showed the strength that represents the power of family.

Thus, while I’ve had to detach to various extents during court, etc, I have been able to attach here on DU:GD. And I do not have words to describe how important that has been for me …..how much your kindness, compassion, and understanding means to me.

H2O Man

104 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
"Guilty": Part Two (Original Post) H2O Man Apr 2016 OP
There's nothing I can say. Wilms Apr 2016 #1
Thanks, Friend! H2O Man Apr 2016 #3
Glad to hear! Dustlawyer Apr 2016 #39
This message was self-deleted by its author CompanyFirstSergeant Apr 2016 #2
Thank you. H2O Man Apr 2016 #6
This message was self-deleted by its author CompanyFirstSergeant Apr 2016 #11
Thank you so much, my dear H20 Man... CaliforniaPeggy Apr 2016 #4
Thanks, Buddy! H2O Man Apr 2016 #8
And I am blessed to know you... CaliforniaPeggy Apr 2016 #10
You are The Best! H2O Man Apr 2016 #58
... Zorra Apr 2016 #5
Thanks, Zorra. H2O Man Apr 2016 #9
Ah, jeez... Bayard Apr 2016 #7
Thanks, Bayard. H2O Man Apr 2016 #12
Native American Wisdom Bayard Apr 2016 #68
Right. H2O Man Apr 2016 #70
Once again you've opened your heart to us, and I thank you.... Hekate Apr 2016 #13
Thank you. H2O Man Apr 2016 #14
Thanks for keeping us in the loop. I have a question about one point, though. tblue37 Apr 2016 #15
Great question. H2O Man Apr 2016 #47
IOW, he is probably a serial killer who, as you say, reaches a threshold and tblue37 Apr 2016 #65
Exactly. H2O Man Apr 2016 #69
Thank you. H2O Man Apr 2016 #48
The guts you have shown in sharing this tragedy with us ... 11 Bravo Apr 2016 #17
Thanks, 11 Bravo! H2O Man Apr 2016 #49
beautifully written, and I feel as though I know and love your nephew renate Apr 2016 #18
Thank you. H2O Man Apr 2016 #50
I am sorry for your familys loss. It is also a loss for humanity logosoco Apr 2016 #19
Thank you. H2O Man Apr 2016 #51
Thank you for this gripping account. mountain grammy Apr 2016 #20
Thank you! H2O Man Apr 2016 #52
Justice served. denbot Apr 2016 #21
Right. H2O Man Apr 2016 #53
So many good people fighting for what's right Tsiyu Apr 2016 #22
Thanks. H2O Man Apr 2016 #55
I'm emotionally exhausted just reading these updates. progressoid Apr 2016 #23
Thanks. H2O Man Apr 2016 #57
The brutality and inhumanity of the defendant outrage me. The compassion and strength of your family Vincardog Apr 2016 #24
Thank you, Vincardog. H2O Man Apr 2016 #59
I tend to agree with your Elders... malthaussen Apr 2016 #25
Thanks, Friend. H2O Man Apr 2016 #60
This has been such a gripping narrative of a real life tragedy rurallib Apr 2016 #26
Well said. H2O Man Apr 2016 #72
I have been thinking of you, your family and these events frequently. Shrike47 Apr 2016 #27
Thanks, Shrike47 H2O Man Apr 2016 #74
Words fail me. cate94 Apr 2016 #28
Thank you, cate94 H2O Man Apr 2016 #75
I've followed this from the beginning and I am amazed with how clear and focused you've been. marble falls Apr 2016 #29
Thank you. H2O Man Apr 2016 #76
You're human, a rare commodity these years. You have people who have your back when you need it. marble falls Apr 2016 #89
It's been such a horrible time sharp_stick Apr 2016 #30
Right. H2O Man Apr 2016 #77
"He gave my cousin a sneer..." edbermac Apr 2016 #31
Right! H2O Man Apr 2016 #79
Your strength and that of your family amazes me. peace13 Apr 2016 #32
Thank you very much! H2O Man Apr 2016 #91
Isn't it stunning when they flat-out LIE ON THE STAND? MADem Apr 2016 #33
Right! H2O Man Apr 2016 #92
Justice has been served!!! d_legendary1 Apr 2016 #34
Thank you! H2O Man Apr 2016 #93
Know this voteearlyvoteoften Apr 2016 #35
Thanks! H2O Man Apr 2016 #94
Wishing you strength and wisdom. Betty Karlson Apr 2016 #36
Thanks, Betty! H2O Man Apr 2016 #95
Thank you H2O Man. Your strength thru this has been inspiring FailureToCommunicate Apr 2016 #37
Thank you. H2O Man Apr 2016 #96
See! Even being that self aware is strength. FailureToCommunicate Apr 2016 #101
Remember your nephew fondly and keep his memory close gratuitous Apr 2016 #38
Well said. H2O Man Apr 2016 #97
Small Consolation To The Family ProfessorGAC Apr 2016 #40
Right. H2O Man Apr 2016 #98
What a horrific crime. iandhr Apr 2016 #41
Thank you. H2O Man Apr 2016 #99
may the bright light of good people illuminate the darkness... islandmkl Apr 2016 #42
Thank you! H2O Man Apr 2016 #100
Excellent post--you made me cry panader0 Apr 2016 #43
An Infinity Octafish Apr 2016 #44
When you described the defendant's reaction... gregcrawford Apr 2016 #45
K&R Solly Mack Apr 2016 #46
Thank you for sharing Fairgo Apr 2016 #54
Peace, and thanks for the posts Mbrow Apr 2016 #56
Peace to you and yours my brother malaise Apr 2016 #61
We are all less because of the loss of your "nephew". Ilsa Apr 2016 #62
One wonders how many crimes the convicted criminal committed while in the NYC PD. . . Peace H2O Man Bernardo de La Paz Apr 2016 #63
Thanks so much for the details. mmonk Apr 2016 #64
I'm sorry you have had to suffer such tragedy, H2O MAN. Dont call me Shirley Apr 2016 #66
Thank you. H2O Man Apr 2016 #71
That gave me chills. You have had so much tragedy in your life, no small wonder you are filled Dont call me Shirley Apr 2016 #78
Thank you. H2O Man Apr 2016 #82
We do experience similar types of events through our different stages of growth, each passing of Dont call me Shirley Apr 2016 #104
It couldn't have gone better, thankfully. pacalo Apr 2016 #67
Hugs my friend nadinbrzezinski Apr 2016 #73
My heart breaks for you, your cousin, your nephew, your family. FourScore Apr 2016 #80
the generosity of your heart and hopemountain Apr 2016 #81
My heart goes out to you and your family emsimon33 Apr 2016 #83
When you finally make it back to your pond and sanctuary, you can reflect on the changes in yourself NBachers Apr 2016 #84
Thank you so much for sharing. And my best to you and family. nm rhett o rick Apr 2016 #85
There is a special dance shadowmayor Apr 2016 #86
so sorry. maybe we need to go door to door. get illegal guns. a bully with a gun & an attitude. pansypoo53219 Apr 2016 #87
H20 Man Iwillnevergiveup Apr 2016 #88
Words fail. Scuba Apr 2016 #90
Thank you for keeping us informed and guiding all through this. sinkingfeeling Apr 2016 #102
I hope they throw the key away. onecaliberal Apr 2016 #103


(10,502 posts)
39. Glad to hear!
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 02:19 PM
Apr 2016

I was naive for a long time, always seeing only the best in peogle. After so many times of being let down I fight cynicism now. Too many like the murderous bastard! I refuse to give in though. People like you help me do it!!!

Hang in and continue to love life!

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
6. Thank you.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 11:49 AM
Apr 2016

The increase in violent crime in our region -- no matter what the FBI's national statistics indicate -- is a troubling feature of life in the upstate area over the past few decades. I am pleased that the justice system has worked properly in this particular case. It has been of the high-quality that everyone should have available.

I'm not a huge fan of our prison system. Yet, this case illustrates exactly why our society needs prisons. When I think of the basic goodness of people -- because friends and strangers have been so supportive of my extended family, as people are in tragic circumstances -- it is fully apparent that violent, aggressive individuals have to be separated from the larger community.

We know of three very similar road rage incidents instigated by this thug, where he threatened others with one of his guns. We know that a few months before shooting my relatives, he shot in the direction of two teens who were riding 4-wheelers on their parents' property (when police responded, he told them he was merely target-shooting). He was a time-bomb, set to go off. I have no doubt that he has murdered before, but left no witness alive. I'm glad he will be in a place where he poses no threat to innocent people.

Response to H2O Man (Reply #6)


(150,262 posts)
4. Thank you so much, my dear H20 Man...
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 11:36 AM
Apr 2016

Oh my god, I felt as though I was sitting in that courtroom, watching and listening to all the proceedings. Your writing is so vivid, so true.

Thank you.

May your family now begin to know peace and be able to turn away from this horror...towards the strength and joy that is family.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
8. Thanks, Buddy!
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 11:53 AM
Apr 2016

I surely appreciate all of your support and compassion. In my mind, you are my Wonderful Sister. I am blessed to know you.


(22,575 posts)
7. Ah, jeez...
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 11:49 AM
Apr 2016

So sorry, H20 Man. Your son/nephew sounds like a wonderful young man who died needlessly at the hands of a murderous stranger. Hoping your family can find some peace.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
12. Thanks, Bayard.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 12:07 PM
Apr 2016

In my life's full experience, I have never encountered so evil a human as this murderer. And I use the word "evil" in a broad sense, not limited to a religious meaning. I find myself thinking of what some of the Elders from several Native American nations taught me years ago: that our culture is producing a group of people that do not have that spark that makes us fully human. In psychology, we refer to them as sociopaths/ psychopaths; in a religious context, they do not have a soul. They are the ultimate parasites, that rob the goodness of society.

My nephew was a special young man. Obviously, I'm subjective. But he had a Goodness about him .....the Power of Gentleness, which is the greatest of human strengths.

The creep had gone out on a mission, as the DA documented. He had murder in his mind when he got into his vehicle that day. He was angry, and someone had to be sacrificed to his rage. It was as if my nephew's Goodness served as a magnet for the thug's evil.

Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman taught me years ago that when young people die, the larger community should recognize them as Messengers. We should examine their lives, and their deaths, to learn important lessons .....their message. I believe that non-traditional society can benefit from this ancient tradition.


(91,623 posts)
13. Once again you've opened your heart to us, and I thank you....
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 12:11 PM
Apr 2016

Peace to you and yours, forever.

All along, I have wondered how many others this miserable excuse for a man has murdered and maimed. Perhaps dilligent investigation of his arsenal will bring some justice for other families. Or perhaps I watch too many tv shows.

But for one family now, justice has been done and has been seen to be done.


(65,765 posts)
15. Thanks for keeping us in the loop. I have a question about one point, though.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 12:31 PM
Apr 2016
The DA then focused their conversation on how, after at least nine drinks in approximately one hour, the scum got his handgun, and went out for a ride. DA McBride again stated the guy was furious when he left his house, and was intent upon shooting someone ….anyone who he happened to come upon in an isolated setting.

Was the killer so furious about something in particular when he left his house with his gun, or is that just how he is generally, and all the alcohol had ramped him up to the point that he was just itching to kill someone?

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
47. Great question.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 07:24 PM
Apr 2016

I can only speculate, but I think that I have a pretty good idea. Our family has been in contact with other employees at the county jail. The thug ended up working four hours of "overtime" on the day beforehand. When he left work, he was more angry than usual.

Like some other violent criminals, he had a level of anger that served as a threshold; when he reached that level, he would venture out, and do damage to some unsuspecting and vulnerable victim. On Monday, October 27, 2014, he got up, took care of the normal chores that were his responsibility around his household, and cleared the rest of the day to strike out.

After driving a couple of miles, he came upon a vehicle outside of town. When both cars pulled into a large, nearly empty parking lot -- without anyone in view -- he identified his victims like a predator identifies its prey. He struck quickly, and efficiently -- hitting both men in what he knew was the "kill zone" from his training.

After shooting my cousin, he pumped two rounds into the son .....with the gun pressed against the young man, the first round struck him near the heart. As the young man fell, he shot him again, to insure a quick kill.

Because the father was alive, and began attending to his son, the murderer approached from behind, struck him on the back of the head with the gun barrel, and pulled the trigger again. Had the gun not mis-fired, of course, my cousin would be dead.

The thug then ran to his car, and took off as quickly as possible. A mile down the road, he heard on his "scanner" that they had identified his license plate number, and that the State Police were looking for his vehicle. It was then that he decided to go to the police HQ.

Cold. Very cold-blooded.


(65,765 posts)
65. IOW, he is probably a serial killer who, as you say, reaches a threshold and
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 09:13 PM
Apr 2016

then goes out to find a victim and a conveniently isolated area. If your cousin had not had the presence of mind, despite what he was going through with his own wound and his dying son, to get the murderer's license plate number, the killer would probably still be free to find other victims.

I was also thinking about how much the guy drank before going out to find a victim to murder. I bet that was part of his routine--i.e., he probably got liquored up to pump up his rage and to dull any fear he might feel about getting caught and suffering consequences.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
69. Exactly.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 10:07 PM
Apr 2016

The is a relatively small sub-group of violent offenders -- all of whom get off on inflicting terrible pain upon their victims -- who follow that type of cycle. They tend to commit one of two types of crime -- rape and/or murder. And they tend to have ritual behaviors, which often include substance abuse.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he has killed before. Even from what we have pieced together, for example, he made unexplained trips to the NYC area on a cyclical basis. We know that one one of these, upon his journey back upstate, he dogged a car on Rt 17 (between NYC and Binghamton). He finally forced them off the road, got out of his vehicle, and ran towards them with his gun pointed at the driver. The guy was able to speed away, while his passenger called 911. The police caught up to him, but by that time, he didn't have a gun on him; he showed them his police ID, and told a very different story.

He was charged with harassment, and pleaded guilty. He got a slap on the wrist for that. And there are two other similar cases, in which he was not charged. He had also shot in the direction of two teens who were neighbors; they were riding 4-wheel vehicles on their parents' property, which angered him. When the police responded to the parents' call, he claimed that he had merely been target shooting.

If the authorities had looked closer, he might have been stopped earlier. But that is just one of those "what if's?" that will haunt us forever. At least my nephew will be the last person he murders.



(18,124 posts)
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 12:37 PM
Apr 2016

caused by this dirtbag. I am glad justice will be served and may he spend the rest of his natural life looking out on freedom lost from behind bars that cage this rabid animal. Very sorry for your families loss of a "gentle giant".

11 Bravo

(23,942 posts)
17. The guts you have shown in sharing this tragedy with us ...
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 12:38 PM
Apr 2016

are equaled only by the compassion with which you have related it. Again, I pray that you and your family can find peace; and that the vermin who visited this horror upon you is punished to the fullest extent the law allows.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
49. Thanks, 11 Bravo!
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 07:39 PM
Apr 2016

In 1998, when a racist hate gang of 17 men viciously assaulted my nephew -- they resented a non-white high school student getting good press for being a scholar/ champion athlete -- and left him for dead in a dark field, I had to come to grips with what life deals. There were other young men who wanted to hunt these thugs down, and splatter some blood on the walls. I wanted to end that cycle of violence.

I knew at the time that those in the legal system at that time lacked the moral-ethical capacity to deliver justice. Thus, I decided to "try" the case in the court of public opinion. I was focused on educating the public about hatred and violence, and how "the system" would protect white defendants in cases involving a violent attack on black people.

As terrible as the situation was -- and it was horrible -- I am convinced that some good actually did come from it. And so with this case, although I have had faith in the people now running the system, I have again sought to use it as an opportunity to teach about the toxic effect of gross violence in our society.

And I'm only getting warmed up. All of the newspapers in our region will be publishing the op-eds that I'll submit to them. I'll also talk about in at the colleges and universities in central NYS.


(13,776 posts)
18. beautifully written, and I feel as though I know and love your nephew
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 12:48 PM
Apr 2016

What a loss, for the whole world. That murder was so senseless in every way, except that he died defending his dad from a (senseless and vicious) attack. He lived doing good, he died doing good.

I can't imagine having to be in the same room as his murderer. You have my heartfelt sympathy for that as well as for your shattering loss.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
50. Thank you.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 07:44 PM
Apr 2016

I think my nephew died a hero. After seeing his father shot, he attempted to restrain the gunman. The guy viciously pistol-whipped him, causing serious injuries to his head. Yet, he continued to try to restrain the guy, up until he was dying.

I've loved that boy since the day he was born. He and I had a very close relationship. There are still times, as I approach their house, that it really hits me: he will never again be there to greet me at the door. I really miss him. He was such a good man.


(3,208 posts)
19. I am sorry for your familys loss. It is also a loss for humanity
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 12:50 PM
Apr 2016

when someone has their life cut short like this.

I have "enjoyed" your story. My family was involved in a murder and the following court case. Unfortunately from the "other" side (my nephew is on death row). It ripped a huge wound in me that is now a scar. I hope your family heals and finds peace in the days and years to come. Your nephew sounds like he was a very kind soul and I am sorry he was only here such a short time!

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
51. Thank you.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 07:48 PM
Apr 2016

I'm sorry to hear about your nephew. I'm reminded that, from the beginning, we knew that two extended families were suffering a loss. There have been people who expressed anger at the murderer's family, and we've reminded them that his family is suffering, too. Everyone loses in these cases. Everyone.

mountain grammy

(26,773 posts)
20. Thank you for this gripping account.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 12:55 PM
Apr 2016

It's difficult to understand an unimaginable situation like this one, and how to deal with it without losing your mind. You've helped us all by sharing this story and I thank you for it. Peace, H2O Man, to you and your family.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
52. Thank you!
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 07:57 PM
Apr 2016

I have really appreciated your kindness and support. It means more to me than I am capable of expressing.

In the past couple of days, I've had the opportunity to tell some of my other nieces and nephews how proud I am of them, and how much they mean to me. As I mentioned, this is the third generation of murder victims our relatively small family has lost in my lifetime. It pains me to see the younger generation going through the same experience that my siblings/cousins have endured. Yet their strength and goodness gives me faith in the future.

One of my nephews, who was particularly close to his cousin who was murdered, is having a particularly hard time. I remind him that we can trace our family tree back to the historical figure William Wallace's family (re: "Braveheart&quot . And that the same blood that flowed through Wallace's veins, now flows through not only his veins, but those of his infant twins. We go on.


(9,902 posts)
21. Justice served.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 12:56 PM
Apr 2016

While it doesn't change anything, I glad that young man was avenged in a civil way.
Peace to you and yours.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
53. Right.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 08:00 PM
Apr 2016

I was talking to my cousin and another family member this afternoon .....and, while justice definitely was served in this case, it is actually what everyone is entitled to in this country. However, it doesn't occur often enough. I'm grateful the system worked for us, but I cannot be satisfied, until there is equal justice for all.

Thank you. I appreciate your support.


(18,186 posts)
22. So many good people fighting for what's right
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 12:57 PM
Apr 2016

for a change.

Now you can properly grieve your deep loss as a family.

And I suppose we should all grieve what the scumbag has turned himself into--a human monster.

Thanks for sharing your bittersweet victory.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
55. Thanks.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 08:03 PM
Apr 2016

It was a good day. I'm confident the sentencing will be appropriate. And as you note, that allows healing to begin on another level.


(50,126 posts)
23. I'm emotionally exhausted just reading these updates.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 01:05 PM
Apr 2016

I can't imagine how you and your family must feel.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
57. Thanks.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 08:11 PM
Apr 2016

I warned my cousin today that he can expect to experience being physically drained over the next few days. With that, despite this "victory," there is often an emotional let-down, as well. It is a long, hard process.

The extended family will continue to gather together, especially over the coming weekend. That is an extremely important thing for all of us to do. The toll that this has taken on everyone is immense.

Next week, my cousin from the other side of my family will be staying here for a couple days, for some extended ceremonies. My younger son hasn't been able to be around as much as he wanted to be. But our ceremonies -- ones that have been practiced here for well over 4,000 years -- will be helpful.


(20,234 posts)
24. The brutality and inhumanity of the defendant outrage me. The compassion and strength of your family
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 01:08 PM
Apr 2016

bring tears to my eyes. Nothing can atone for your loss.
Take solace in the knowledge that while the memory of your gentle giant endure so will his spirit.

Peace, H2O Man, to you and your family.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
59. Thank you, Vincardog.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 08:21 PM
Apr 2016

The degree of coldness -- the complete lack of human-ness on the murderer's part -- was stunning. He absolutely "got off" on the autopsy photographs. His pride in the damage he did while pistol-whipping his young victim was the most repulsive thing that I've ever seen.

While I understand and appreciate that everyone does not share my belief system, I will say that I do not believe in "death." I am convinced that it is a changing of worlds, much like when a baby is born. I am certain that my nephew now inhabits the "real world," at a different energy level. Yet, the separation from a loved one is still just as painful.


(17,307 posts)
25. I tend to agree with your Elders...
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 01:08 PM
Apr 2016

... without excusing this individual in any way for his evil (for will precedes act), I also think there is something about our culture that applauds violence. This criminal was acting out a power fantasy that is common in our world, and I believe somehow evoked by our culture, wittingly or no (and I am not prepared to say it is unwitting). The system appears to have worked in his case (which is small consolation), but one is quite aware that it would have taken the thinnest of other circumstances for him to get away scot-free, or even with a medal for his despicable actions.

-- Mal

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
60. Thanks, Friend.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 08:24 PM
Apr 2016

Had that last bullet have fired, rather than being dented and lodged in the gun's barrel, he would have either never been caught, or have had no one to contradict his lies. That is unsettling to think about.


(62,579 posts)
26. This has been such a gripping narrative of a real life tragedy
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 01:14 PM
Apr 2016

Thank you for sharing your story.

One story the media in this country seldom tells is what happens to those left behind by the murder of a family member, friend or work mate. There are lives literally shattered. Many times there are expenses to be paid and needs that must be paid for when a bread winner is killed. There are no compensation pools to help with those expenses unless the victim had life insurance. I am not even sure life insurance covers a murder.

And then there are victims who may be massively injured but not die. They must now go on living, unable to work thus having little income. Their living expenses often come down to some form of paltry government aid. Medical may often be medicaid if the state they live in hasn't cut it.

This on top of the emotional trauma that a victim and their families go through.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
72. Well said.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 10:20 PM
Apr 2016

There are so many victims of each violent crime. I remind myself that what my family is attempting to deal with is the same reality that many, many other families (and friends) are dealing with today.

It changes you; it changes everything. And there is quite simply no power on earth that can return a person to where they had been, before such a tragic loss.

I appreciate your message. Things are getting harsh again tonight. I'm very thankful for the support of the DU community.


(6,913 posts)
27. I have been thinking of you, your family and these events frequently.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 01:16 PM
Apr 2016

Thank you so much for your posts. They are beautifully written.

We all weep for your cousin.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
74. Thanks, Shrike47
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 10:23 PM
Apr 2016

Even at the toughest times .....or especially at the toughest times ....I know that people are Good. You and others here make that real for me.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
75. Thank you, cate94
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 10:27 PM
Apr 2016

Your words mean a lot to me. Your message of support comes through clearly, and it means a great deal to me. In fact, it means the world to me right now -- and right now is exactly when it is most needed.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
76. Thank you.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 10:32 PM
Apr 2016

It's funny -- I was just talking to one of my relatives, and she was complimenting me on my ability to provide support for others. As she is one of the few people that I am comfortable "unloading" on, I assured her that while I'm alone, I fall apart completely ....and that my being "strong" for others actually just provides me with a way to cover up how much pain that I am in.

So I appreciate your saying I appear clear and focused .....though I am fully aware that at the same time, I'm a mess. I suppose that's part of being human, though.


(14,400 posts)
30. It's been such a horrible time
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 01:23 PM
Apr 2016

I'm very happy you, and this poor young mans father, were able to experience at least some justice being served.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
77. Right.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 10:36 PM
Apr 2016

Thank you for that. It really was great to have the DA argue -- and the judge agree -- that my cousin was telling the truth. My aunt was really upset yesterday, by the defense attorney's claiming that my cousin was lying .....she kept saying, "I did not raise my children to be liars."

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
79. Right!
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 10:41 PM
Apr 2016

We were told not to react to the verdict. But once it was announced, I started clapping. It took a few seconds, and then almost everyone began clapping. But the convicted murderer did not join us!

I try not to ever judge anyone by appearance. But I think some of the pictures from the media show what an ugly, brutal piece of shit this guy is. And I doubt he'll be playing the smug tough guy routine where he is heading.



(11,076 posts)
32. Your strength and that of your family amazes me.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 01:49 PM
Apr 2016

You have honored your nephew with all that you have done and written. I hold all of you in my heart. Peace and love to you.


(135,425 posts)
33. Isn't it stunning when they flat-out LIE ON THE STAND?
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 01:50 PM
Apr 2016

This happened in my family's case. The defendant lied SHAMELESSLY. And obviously, too. The DA gave him enough rope to hang himself...but it was tough to watch it play out.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
92. Right!
Fri Apr 8, 2016, 09:10 AM
Apr 2016

On of the signs of true sociopathy is when a person lies even when it would be in their favor to tell the truth, and then -- when confronted on the lie -- simply replaces it with a "new" and different lie, without missing a beat. Most people, it is fair to say, would be mighty uncomfortable in being caught in telling a whooper on the witness stand. Not this guy. He just admitted the first lie was a lie, and then went to the next lie.

Years ago, I had a federal investigator ask me to sit in on a meeting with a client who had been caught stealing from Medicaid's mileage reimbursement. She had, in under a year's time, stolen over $60,000,which she invested in cocaine. Again, a normal thief would be nervous under such circumstances. Not her. Lie, lie, lie; no matter how many times she was caught in a lie, she just replaced it with another lie. At least she was non-violent.


(2,586 posts)
34. Justice has been served!!!
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 01:54 PM
Apr 2016

I am happy that your family received some closure in this case and that the monster who caused you all pain is right where he needs to be. Your are all very brave people and you have my thanks for enduring all that suffering to lock that creature away. Because of your courage you may have saved another family the grief that you have all experienced. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and may God bless you all.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
93. Thank you!
Fri Apr 8, 2016, 09:11 AM
Apr 2016

It is good to see the justice system work correctly. That seems to be an increasingly rare thing in this country.


(1,716 posts)
35. Know this
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 01:58 PM
Apr 2016

Your advocacy in this matter has likely saved others from a similar fate at the hand of this murderer.
Your strong family and community connections served you well.

I am so very sorry for the loss of a young man with so much promise. Be well H2O man….

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
94. Thanks!
Fri Apr 8, 2016, 09:21 AM
Apr 2016

After she was convinced her husband would not be released from jail, the murderer's wife filed for divorce, and would move out of the area. She told friends about what a violent, abusive husband & father he had been. She had previously been afraid to leave him, because she believed he would hunt her down and kill her.

Some of our family's support system thought she bore some responsibility, for not going to the authorities before. My family was clear: we do not blame her at all. Just the opposite -- she was a victim, too.

The fact that no one from his family -- not even one of his daughters -- ever showed up at any court hearing or the trial to support him, speaks loudly.


Betty Karlson

(7,231 posts)
36. Wishing you strength and wisdom.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 02:02 PM
Apr 2016

People like the defendant are the examples of a failed system: one that lets psychopathological individuals act out their mysanthropy.

Love for you and yours,


H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
95. Thanks, Betty!
Fri Apr 8, 2016, 09:28 AM
Apr 2016

During one of the breaks in the trial, my aunt asked me what I thought had caused the thug to be such a horrible person. Did I think he had had a terrible childhood? I explained, as well as I could in a short time, what a true sociopath is, and why I am firmly convinced he is indeed a sociopath. And I mean this in the clinical sense, as opposed to the common usage of the word (we often see the term used incorrectly on DU, for example).

I added that as an old farm boy, if a dog has rabies, I need not consider if it had a nurturing puppyhood. My only duty is to take that rabid dog out behind the barn.....

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
96. Thank you.
Fri Apr 8, 2016, 09:35 AM
Apr 2016

I do not see myself as particularly strong .....perhaps because I tend to be around myself 24/7, and am thus aware of those times when I'm not strong, when I think violent thoughts. To be honest, on each of the three days of the trial, I found myself wishing that I could have five minutes alone with the guy, with no witnesses and no weapons. So I am surely not as strong as I would like to be. I should not think those thoughts.


(14,086 posts)
101. See! Even being that self aware is strength.
Fri Apr 8, 2016, 09:50 AM
Apr 2016

As I mentioned, our family has a hearing coming up. My brother was assaulted by a drunk guy, and the resulting brain hemorrhage cost him part of his skull, the end of his career in the ministry and likely being permanently wheelchair bound.

We hope the judge will seek some restitution, but you never know, the skill of the defendants lawyer or the indifference of the judge.

So glad your trial worked out (so far) as you might have hoped.


(82,849 posts)
38. Remember your nephew fondly and keep his memory close
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 02:17 PM
Apr 2016

There's nothing you can do about the killer. Perhaps one day he'll come to his senses and be appalled by his inhumanity, but there's no way to hasten that day. From your description, your nephew wouldn't want you to live contaminated by his killer's demented reality.


(66,095 posts)
40. Small Consolation To The Family
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 02:23 PM
Apr 2016

But, at least the guy got caught and properly incarcerated.

Take care, sir.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
98. Right.
Fri Apr 8, 2016, 09:37 AM
Apr 2016

Journalists asked, "Does this bring closure?" Only on the part that was the trial. But not on the loss. No, not on the loss.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
99. Thank you.
Fri Apr 8, 2016, 09:41 AM
Apr 2016

As Viktor Frankl taught, after being subjected to man's inhumanity to man, we can actually become stronger .....not because of of tragic incidents, but despite them.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
100. Thank you!
Fri Apr 8, 2016, 09:43 AM
Apr 2016

I am impressed by that Human Goodness that so much of the local communities showed in response to this violent episode. For most people absolutely are Good.


(25,816 posts)
43. Excellent post--you made me cry
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 03:49 PM
Apr 2016

Nothing can bring back your nephew, but you can take solace in the fact that you have a wonderful
extended family. All the best to you...


(2,382 posts)
45. When you described the defendant's reaction...
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 07:16 PM
Apr 2016

... to the photos of the results of his savagery, you described a textbook psychopath. This sonofabitch should never see the Sun again without bars dividing his view.

Peace, Water man. Your family is fortunate beyond words to have someone of your strength and character shepherding them through such a horrible experience.


(61,731 posts)
62. We are all less because of the loss of your "nephew".
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 08:28 PM
Apr 2016

He made the future of this planet better by his presence. I know I am not alone on DU aching over the loss of your cousin's son.

You said, "While no family should endure such things, my daughter showed the strength that represents the power of family." Blessings on her and to all of you. You are so right. I'm so glad your family was able to come together during this tragedy.


(52,589 posts)
64. Thanks so much for the details.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 09:09 PM
Apr 2016

That was so much to go through and my family holds yours in their hearts.

Dont call me Shirley

(10,998 posts)
66. I'm sorry you have had to suffer such tragedy, H2O MAN.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 09:33 PM
Apr 2016

I had an intuition to post this


Your cousin's son, your "brother...

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
71. Thank you.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 10:14 PM
Apr 2016

When I was young, I had a girlfriend, who was murdered when she went to visit her mother in Florida. The murderer cut her corpse up with a chain saw, in order to try to hide his crime while disposing of her remains. Her name was Susan. I remember listening to this song, over and over, while trying to come to grips with her death. The song has had special meaning to me ever since.

Dont call me Shirley

(10,998 posts)
78. That gave me chills. You have had so much tragedy in your life, no small wonder you are filled
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 10:36 PM
Apr 2016

with such heart, understanding, courage and strength.

Love and Peace to you, Man.

H2O Man

(73,994 posts)
82. Thank you.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 11:06 PM
Apr 2016

It gave me chills when I saw that you posted that exact song. You knew, on some level. At first, I thought "here I am again."

Then I remembered talking with my sons this weekend. We were talking about the then upcoming trial, and the impact it has on everyone. I mentioned the German-born psychologist Erik Erikson, most famous for his theories on psycho-social development. He spoke about "identity crises," etc. And part of his work noted that people tend to encounter the same issues -- in different ways -- at each level of their development.

When my girlfriend was murdered, I don't mind admitting, I absolutely wanted to kill the guy who was responsible. And I would have done so, with my bare hands, if I had the opportunity. For in my youth, although I did not start fights, I had the capacity for extreme violence. And for months that became years, I wanted revenge. I took out my rage on my opponents in the boxing ring, although they had no real connection with the event that sparked my anger. It was an unpleasant, confusing phase of my life.

Tonight, as I listened to that song -- and tried to sing along, until my throat was too choked up -- I'm both in the same position, and an entirely different place. I try, really hard, to not hate, to not allow those emotions to contaminate my thinking or behavior. And that can be really hard, especially while I was in the same room with the shit who shot my relatives. But I accept that I am imperfect. I am sad and weakly human, the same as everyone else. Yet, I still try to improve.

Again, thank you very much. That song has a powerful meaning in my life.

Dont call me Shirley

(10,998 posts)
104. We do experience similar types of events through our different stages of growth, each passing of
Sat Apr 9, 2016, 04:39 PM
Apr 2016

each level bringing us more peace, more understanding, more love and more forgiveness, if we allow it.

Your response brought tears to my heart and eyes. Clearing away the boulders of hate, violence, rage and anger can most times be difficult. Meditate and Contemplate upon compassion. Bring your awareness of your self into your body and live life in love with life.

Your loved ones are there with you, H2O Man. Peace and Love, Shirley


(24,722 posts)
67. It couldn't have gone better, thankfully.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 09:40 PM
Apr 2016

He'll now have to navigate the prison block without gallons of booze & a handgun.

Stay strong & I wish you & your family peace.



(154,021 posts)
73. Hugs my friend
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 10:21 PM
Apr 2016

and hug your family for the rest of us.

I am glad that was the sentence. I know there is truly never fully closure in criminal events... I wish you peace.


(9,704 posts)
80. My heart breaks for you, your cousin, your nephew, your family.
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 10:48 PM
Apr 2016

Your cousin's boy sounds like he was such a wonderful young man. I believe you said in an earlier post that he was 18, the age of my oldest child, also a boy. I keep thinking that they could have been friends. At 6'5",your nephew may have enjoyed basketball, which my son really enjoys. And, I feel confident, my son would've been happy to light one with him after the workout.

In other words, I can see your nephew. I am surrounded by his peers through my own child. I can imagine him in kindergarten and 5th grade and how quickly his growth spurt hit him. Just yesterday, he was learning to drive. It breaks my heart. I cannot imagine the pain of losing so much. So suddenly. It is beyond sad, H2O Man. I am so so sorry.

My son had a creep hugging his tail the other day, and I thought of your cousin and his son, and I used the opportunity to talk about road rage and how dangerous it is. I told him about the trial, here in NY, just a couple of hours away. My son listened very intently.

I love the image of your youngest daughter holding her great uncle. So much sadness and love and life. Peace be with you, H2O Man.


(3,919 posts)
81. the generosity of your heart and
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 10:48 PM
Apr 2016

spirit are fortifying your family with strength. it is a powerful gift you have and i thank you for sharing with us during these very challenging circumstances.

and you are right - my sister's kids are my kids, my cousin's kids are my nieces and nephews and all of the elders are grandmothers and grandfathers.

yes, what paul watermann said is very true. my first husband was killed in an accident at 27. he was very loving and it was a terrible shock and grief for our families and community. foes, friends and family came together to grieve and acknowledge the special and powerful ways he had touched our lives. several commented that even at a young age he encouraged us to "listen to the old ones. they have stories to tell and wisdom to share." upon his passing, our families and community were softened toward one another and our bonds were renewed and strengthened for a very, very long time.

in a good way ~ hopemountain


(3,128 posts)
83. My heart goes out to you and your family
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 11:06 PM
Apr 2016

At least the judge saw through all the lies and, hopefully, this bag of human excrement will go to prison for a long, long time.


(17,312 posts)
84. When you finally make it back to your pond and sanctuary, you can reflect on the changes in yourself
Thu Apr 7, 2016, 11:39 PM
Apr 2016

You will be there with your thoughts, feelings, solitude, and reflections. I hope your dog is there. And the fire and the springtime frogs and the fish and the tadpoles and lightning bugs. They are all still there for you, as we here at DU are, too.

And I hope you can draw strength from your ceremonies.

I want you to find time for some soul-fulfilling behavior.


(1,325 posts)
86. There is a special dance
Fri Apr 8, 2016, 01:04 AM
Apr 2016

In this life, the special dance between an uncle and nephew (like that of an aunt and niece) can be the best of blessings. I'm sorry your dance was cut short. The fondness I have for some of my uncles (they're all gone now) was in so many ways easier than with my own parents. From your story, I am certain your nephew was glad to have an uncle like you.


(21,089 posts)
87. so sorry. maybe we need to go door to door. get illegal guns. a bully with a gun & an attitude.
Fri Apr 8, 2016, 01:11 AM
Apr 2016

how much shit did he get away w/ all his life.


(9,298 posts)
88. H20 Man
Fri Apr 8, 2016, 01:58 AM
Apr 2016

You may not have heard from most of us here on a frequent, reliable basis, but I think I can speak for all of us when I say you and your family have been in the recesses of our minds throughout this tragic ordeal. We remain so in the hope that you continue to find the strength, support and peace that you so richly deserve. We'll still be here to help expedite that.


(33,380 posts)
103. I hope they throw the key away.
Fri Apr 8, 2016, 10:08 AM
Apr 2016

My heart breaks for what your family has endured. Hoping this brings a bit of peace.

Latest Discussions»General Discussion»"Guilty": Part Two